Sunday, October 24, 2010

Munich Re highlights climate change link to extreme weather events A bulletin from Munich Re underlines the "exceptionally high" incidence of "weather-related natural catastrophe losses in the first nine months of 2010," both in "number and scale." The floods in central Europe, wildfires in Russia and widespread flooding in Pakistan headed the list.

The timely roundup coincides with the approaching World Climate Summit scheduled for November 29 to December 10 in Cancún, Mexico. Munich Re said that it "emphasizes the probability of a link between the increasing number of weather extremes and climate change." In the run-up to the summit, Munich Re will focus attention on this issue with a series of communications on natural catastrophes, climate change and potential solutions.

In addition Munich Re pointed out that "globally, 2010 has been the warmest year since records began over 130 years ago, the ten warmest during that period all falling within the last 12 years. The warmer atmosphere and higher sea temperatures are having significant effects."

Prof. Peter Höppe, Head of Munich Re's Geo Risks Research/Corporate Climate Centre stated: "It's as if the weather machine had changed up a gear. Unless binding carbon reduction targets stay on the agenda, future generations will bear the consequences."

Munich Re recorded a total of 725 weather-related natural hazard events with significant losses from January to September 2010, the second-highest figure recorded for the first nine months of the year since 1980. Some 21,000 people lost their lives, 1,760 in Pakistan alone, up to one-fifth of which was flooded for several weeks. Overall losses due to weather-related natural catastrophes from January to September came to more than $65 billion and insured losses to $18 billion….

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